Yesterday an ordinary husband and father of three was leaving work for the day in downtown Auckland. As he headed home to his family he spotted a woman being punched by a man and did what any ordinary person would (and should) do; he intervened. The man attacking the woman then turned on him and stabbed him to death.
I’ve never met Austin Hemmings before and I can’t possibly begin to imagine what his friends and family are going through right now. But I count it as a great honour to live in the same city, country and world he lived in.
There are people who act to our detriment and there are those, like Austin, who, just by being themselves — by being ordinary — benefit us all. There will likely always be people who act to our detriment and there will likely always be terrible things that happen to good people for absolutely no reason at all but there will also likely be many good, ordinary people who we don’t notice on a day-to-day basis but who hold the very fabric of our society together by just being themselves.
So, Austin, I’m sorry I wasn’t able to recognise and appreciate you while you were living but I will try to make up for that by appreciating more the people who continue to go unnoticed everyday who carry on the valueable job of acting to the benefit of society. You are honoured. And you are extraordinary.